Accelerated Stress Testing & Reliability Conference (ASTR), 2016 IEEE

Critical Review of U.S. Military Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) Handbook

Nga Man Lia and Diganta Dasa
a CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA


Environmental stress screening (ESS) is a process to eliminate defects caused by materials and manufacturing variations in electronic products by a 100% screening, with the goal to eventually improve manufacturing processes that cause the defects. MIL-HDBK 344A- Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) of Electronic Equipment describes a quantitative approach for planning, monitoring, and controlling an ESS process. This handbook was last updated in 1993 but is still widely used today within and beyond the military and aerospace industries. While the processes and overall philosophy of ESS are well presented in the handbook, the mathematical foundations and the data it uses have become obsolete over the years. These concerns are explained with a thorough analysis of the initial defect estimation and screening strength estimation steps described in the handbook. With the rapid evolution in electronics technology, the handbook’s estimation methods are meaningless if not counterproductive for the planning of an ESS program for today’s electronics systems. Based on the critical concerns presented in this article, we urge the U.S. Department of Defense to cancel and stop use of MIL-HDBK 344A.

This article is available online here and to CALCE Consortium Members for personal review.

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